If you regularly find yourself impulsively spending on your credit card, yet dread to check your statement for how much you owe at the end of the month, there is a high likelihood you are misusing your credit card

Jonathan de Beer, head of collections at FNB Credit Card, says a credit card can be quite convenient and rewarding if you need safe and instant access to cash. However, you can easily find yourself in an unnecessary and unpleasant financial predicament if you are not careful with your spending.

He points out five telltale signs you could be misusing your credit card:

1. Feel guilty after spending

Guilt could indicate that you are either buying what you do not really need, buying without checking your budget, or you know you shouldn’t be making the purchase but you are going ahead with it because you can.

2. Can’t pay extra on credit card debt

If you can’t even afford to make an additional payment on the required minimum monthly amount, you could be heading for trouble and need to carefully monitor your spending.

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A good debt management strategy involves knowing your current financial position

3. Shocked when checking your statement

A good debt management strategy involves knowing your current financial position and putting measures in place to manage it. This involves keeping up to date with your spending on a regular basis.

4. Shuffling debt between different credit cards

Having multiple credit cards and using them to settle your debt could leave you in serious financial difficulties. This should be avoided at all cost.

5. Not saving because of debt

Being overstretched financially to such an extent that you are living off your credit card and cannot afford to save leads to money problems, especially when dealing with unforeseen emergencies.  

“If you notice any of these signs or find yourself excessively spending beyond your means, it is not the end of the road, as there are important measures you can immediately take to gradually turn your situation around,” advises de Beer.

The first step is to list all your debt, spend carefully and only when it is absolutely necessary, formulate a realistic budget and stick to it. Lastly, try and pay a little extra towards your credit card debt every month.

“In extreme debt situations consumers are advised to seek expert advice as soon as possible in order to minimise the impact,” concludes de Beer.